I've been made aware of a case of chemical suicide in Toronto via a memo on Toronto EMS letterhead. Although I've not been able to confirm the validity of the memo or find associated material on the event, it seems as if Toronto has had a case of chemical suicide. The chemicals listed in the Toronto EMS memo are among those on the list of potential chemicals for other events in Japan and the U.S.When certain chemicals are mixed, Hydrogen Sulfide gas can be created. In some cases the gas has been created in concentrations greater than 2000 parts per million. Hydrogen Sulfide is more potent than cyanide, has a quick "knock down" - causing unconsciousness/respiratory failure - withing one to two breaths.
Chemical suicide events have taken place in hotel rooms, residential areas, and apartments. The latest trend is to mix the chemicals in a car parked in a parking lot. Both residential and vehicle borne events have the potential to cause responder deaths and mass casualty/multi-patient events.
In some cases, people have posted signs on the doors of apartments or windows of cars indicating their intent to commit suicide by chemical agent. Responders need to be aware of any unusual clues such as windows taped shut, open containers of liquids (chemicals have been mixed in small wash tubs), odors of any kind. We should also add a high index of suspicion for any "person over the wheel" calls - don't assume the person in that car is sleeping! If you think there has been chemicals involved in a situation - do not enter, do not open the car. Keep the area clear, create a parameter and keep yourself uphill and upwind - call for FD/hazmat.
Below is a list of links to prior Mitigation Journal posts from the podcast and blog...
Mitigation Journal Podcast #72
Mitigation Journal Podcast #64
Mitigation Journal Podcast #59